Milwaukee college wrestlers bounce back after dramatic bus fire

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Saturday, Jan. 7, members of the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) wrestling team were on their way back from a tournament in Minnesota when their bus went up in flames in Barron County.

The Barron County Sheriff's Office said the fire was caused by a mechanical issue.

The Coach bus that went up in flames is owned by Milwaukee-based transportation company AccuTrans Group.

The company told CBS 58 News they are grateful their guests were able to get out without injuries.

"My first thoughts was oh my gosh, we have to get off this bus like right away," said Noah Nieberle, a sophomore and wrestler at MSOE.

Dramatic video shows a Coach bus fully engulfed in flames Saturday night. Moments before, it was full of college wrestlers and staff, including assistant coach Sam Rathbun.

"It was one of the wrestlers in the back of the bus who had yelled, 'Fire! Everybody get off the bus,' then maybe 20 seconds it took for us to pull over. The flame was about as high the window was at the time," said Rathburn.

The sheriff's office said the bus and all of its contents were a total loss.

"I did lose my laptop, my homework, I lost my air pods, some Christmas presents, gift cards," Nieberle said.

The sophomore said those lost items pale in comparison to what the fire has taught him.

"Our next meet is not guaranteed, like that kind of showed us that you have to give it your all at the ones you do have," said Nieberle.

If you would like to donate to help the team replace items lost in the fire, you can click the link here.

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